Roma vs Napoli Prediction: Clouds over the ‘Derby of the Sun’

 | December 22 | 

4 mins read

stadio olimpico roma lazio scaled

Our Serie A tipster has been on a good run in recent columns and last week he had four winners from his five selections. Not too shabby that.

Daniele is back with his preview of the Serie A Game of the Week as Napoli travel to Roma in the Saturday night game, live on TNT Sports from 19:45...

Roma vs Napoli Betting Tips:

  • Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 8/11
  • Back Victor Osimhen to score anytime @ 13/8

This is Serie A’s last game before Christmas and a Champions League qualification six-pointer for two sides that are, surprisingly, chasing Bologna who occupy the fourth spot.

Neither Roma nor Napoli are in a good moment: José Mourinho, whose contract expires next summer, has publicly said he wants to continue to manage in the capital in the future.

But not everyone in Roma is convinced the Portuguese manager is the right man to take the club forward.

After losing to Bologna and missing automatic qualification to the Europa League knockout stage now Mou he’s under pressure to finish the year on a high

On the other hand, Napoli seem to take one step forwards and two backwards: last Saturday’s win against Cagliari was overshadowed by a disastrous home performance against Frosinone in Coppa Italia that led to a historic 4-0 defeat.

Nothing looks comfortable for the Azzurri who have lost last year’s confidence and continue to ship avoidable goals.

In fairness both teams have struggled defensively this season, having kept just four clean sheets apiece in Serie A.

Napoli overall numbers are even worse as they conceded in five out of six Champions League matches. Their inability to control games and defend in wide areas when caught on the break become more glaring game by game.

Team News:

After making nine changes in midweek against Frosinone, Walter Mazzarri will deploy his strongest XI this Saturday at the Olimpico. There will be two alterations from the team that defeated 2-1 Cagliari last week: Zielinski will slot in midfield in place of Cajuste and Mario Rui will reclaim his spot at left back. Brazilian defender Natan will then move into his natural centre-back position to replace former Roma defender Juan Jesus. Oliveira and Elmas are not available

José Mourinho is likely to confirm the same team that lost 2-0 in Bologna with the only exception of Romelu Lukaku who returns from suspension to replace Andrea Belotti up front. In the hosts’ camp Smalling, Aouar, Dybala and Abraham are still dealing with muscular injuries.

Match Odds:

Despite their recent troubles, Napoli are still favourite to win at the Olimpico against Roma where they’re unbeaten in the last three matches. A victory for the Azzurri pays 8/5.

The success for Mourinho’s men is also priced well at 9/5. Roma have lost only one league game (2-1 vs Milan) at home this season and have scored in all their last 22 domestic games in all competitions. But Roma haven’t got the better of Napoli since 2019.

The odds for the draw are fairly high (21/20), the visitors have only drawn two out of 11 away matches this season in all competitions.

Under 2.5 goals @ 8/11

This game is known as the ‘derby del sole’ (the derby of the sun), but heavy clouds loom over both clubs. In fact they have less points in the table compared to last season: minus five for Roma and a staggering -14 gap for the Scudetto holders.

A defeat could seriously hinder each team’s chances to finish in the top four and the game, as it often happens in these clashes between top sides in Serie A, might well be a cagey, nervy affair that gets decided by one or more episodes.

An old cliche? Maybe, but this season Roma’s games against clubs who finished in the top seven last season have produced just six goals and, despite their individual brilliance, Napoli, look too shaken and low on confidence to expect a flamboyant performance.

The good news for Mourinho is the return of Romelu Lukaku from suspension. The Belgian has scored three times in his last four outings with the Giallorossi bringing his season tally to 20 with club and country. Without him (and Paulo Dybala, who’ll miss the rest of 2023 due to a muscular injury) Roma barely laid a glove on Bologna last Sunday. In their 2-0 defeat at the Renato Dall’Ara Roma’s xG were 0.57 (the second lowest of the matchday behind Empoli, who have Serie A’s worst attack).

Victor Osimhen anytime goalscorer @ 13/8

For Napoli against Cagliari the good news came from the forwards and especially last campaign’s top goalscorer, Victor Osimhen.

The Nigerian netted his eight of the season and provided a sublime assist, after wiggling his way through three defenders in the box, for Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

Ultimately it might need something special from a top player to break the impasse and in this case nobody would be more suited than Osimhen.

His strength and super technical skills ultimately won Napoli many games game and the winner of the African Ballon D’or often delivers in big matches.

You can check out all of the Football Betting Tips from the Betfred Insights' team on our Football hub page...

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